Campaign-tech scorecard: How the candidates compare online

by Doug Gross,

In 2012, a strong Web presence must be part of every political hopeful’s strategy.

On the eve of Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses, the first official contest of this year’s presidential campaign, we take a look at how the seven Republican hopefuls are presenting themselves in the digital world of social media.

This includes everything from tallying their Twitter followers and Facebook likes to comparing what kind of information they’re most likely to share online. We also compare their scores on Klout, a site that aims to measure someone’s influence based on their popularity on social media (a number some consider dubious, but that more folks online are starting to pay attention to).

Of course, these numbers may have no bearing on how the candidates actually fare with Iowa caucusgoers. Some of the candidates may have departed the race by Wednesday night. And whoever survives the grueling process to presumably face President Barack Obama in November may change digital strategies multiple times between now and then.

But for now, here’s a snapshot of the current GOP field online (in alphabetical order; numbers current as of Monday evening):

Michele Bachmann

Twitter followers: 36,262 (a heartier 126,842 for her Congress account)

Facebook page “likes”: 460,290

YouTube channel views: 1,323,985

Klout score: 68

Style: Bachmann tweets only sporadically from her Congress account but several times a day from her campaign account, which is full of upbeat messages and quotes from the candidate (“I fight, I fight hard, and I fight for you”). Both her Twitter feed and Facebook page — which seems to exist just to promote her campaign — are full of pics of her on the stump in Iowa, waving from her bus and greeting voters.

Sample tweet: “Happy New Year! In 2012, we’re resolving to make Barack Obama a one-term President. What’s your resolution?”
Noteworthy: A gallery of Facebook pics shows Bachmann attending the Iowa-Iowa State football game in true politician style — wearing a jersey that says “Iowa” on one side and “Iowa State” on the other. In another photo, she has autographed a bald man’s head.

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